Category Archives: Exercise

Why to do skipping rope workout

Skipping rope workout

Summer is finally here! Oh I cannot be happier about this! And it means that it’s time to show your gorgeous legs to the world. Of course there are two major problems with this statement: 1) English summer is not as sunny and warm as it could be and 2) sometimes your gorgeous legs are covered with a layer of fat tissue accumulated during winter time. Regarding the 1st issue we can all just hope for the best, but the second one can be sorted out by getting a skipping rope and doing skipping rope workout on regular basis.

As a person who used to do a) gym,  b) running, c) strength training etc etc on regular basis, I will tell you that nothing works as good for my body as skipping rope combined with a bit of yoga. In general I have a tendency to collect all fat bits on my legs and thighs in particular so this kind of workout really helps me as it mainly targets your lower body. And the crucial bit, skipping rope does not make you look bulky and it is so intensive that 15min per day is often more than enough for me. I just can see that when I don’t do it, all the fat is coming back to my legs and once I start skipping rope – the fat layers melt away and my legs look really toned!

I understand that for many people skipping rope is associated with childhood play but this stuff gets very serious if you do it as a workout and there are even different skipping techniques to get the most out of it!

If you want to try skipping rope for yourself, it cannot be any easier to do…you can purchase a rope in pretty much any sports gear shop and you can do it anywhere you like. I personally prefer to jump outside as you don’t really want to break some nice vase in your house. And no matter what is your level of fitness, you can start skipping rope, just start with whatever number of jumps you feel comfortable and make sure to increase the number by 10-15% next time you train.

This jump rope tutorial for beginners is the great introduction to skipping rope and main techniques you can use.  And don’t forget that it’s also important to warm up before workout and stretch after…especially your calves as otherwise they will be so sore the next morning.

My personal skipping rope routine is the following:

150 hops regular jumping on both feet (I always land my heel on the ground)

100 hops side to side jumping

50 hops running while lifting knees up

50 hops running with butt kicks

100 hops “scissors” (altering between putting left and right foot in front when landing)

200 hops regular jumping

I sometimes stop for a sec to catch the breath or sip some water, but otherwise I try to do it continuously and it takes me around 10-15 min. And as I mentioned before I combine skipping rope with yoga and it is my perfect solution for toned body. Yoga is also good as you really need to stretch your muscles very well if you skip rope.

Also make sure that you wear comfortable trainers and be ready that skipping rope will probably turn out to be a bit more intense that you anticipate!

Let’s talk yoga – the beginner’s story

No doubt that yoga is very fashionable activity nowadays and many people are really into it searching for their inner peace while toning their bodies at the same time.

For me yoga has never been on the list of my favourite activities. I went for a couple of classes to check it out, didn’t like it at all and decided that it’s not intensive enough for me as I am more into running, jumping and getting my heart pumping fast.

Then around a month or so ago my friend came to visit and showed me a number of yoga poses. I cannot even describe how much my muscles ached the next morning…this fact made me thinking that maybe yoga is not at all just breathing and sitting in funny poses. Another important factor to research more about it is my ambition to learn to do hand stand. The push ups and increase in upper body strength did not help me and body balance still sucked big time.

So I started to do my research. I decided not to bother with the classes as I am not too much into working out next to 20 people around me, all signing loudly and sweating as hell…I stick to the comfort of my home.

I chose to do “classic” yoga with its poses like eagle, triangle, sage, underdog etc. I came up with the routine of around 15 poses that I will share later as I will start to look less ridiculous while practising them. The most important part I came up with more decent strategy of getting into hand stand. Apparently first you need to master shoulder hand, than head stand and only than move to hand stand. Of course other yoga poses also help as they improve general body balance and strengthen the core. My plan at this moment is to learn to do shoulder stand in one month time so we will see how it goes.

One last word of wisdom. I try to do my yoga routine in the morning to stretch my body well and energise it for the day. I hold every position for 10-15 deep breaths. Of course some poses are a bit too tough to breath properly but I am doing my best. I cannot say that I have already grasped all the spiritual beauty of yoga but I am working on it. Though I feel very relaxed and energised after it.

If you are willing to try out yoga for yourself here are some simple poses for beginners you can try. Try to hold each one for at least 5 breaths to start with and don’t forget to warm your body a bit first.

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Plank – the way to a flat tummy

Plank can be definitely named my favourite exercise of the month. And to be honest this is the only exercise which really works to flatten my tummy. I have tried soooo many variations of crunches, increasing number of sets and repetitions and they never NEVER worked for me! (I even was instructed by gym trainers on how to do crunches properly and still they did nothing for my tummy). Then in one of the work-out videos on fitsugar I came across a “plank” exercise and completely fell for it. Let me tell you, I have been doing this exercise for a month and it literary sucks my tummy right to the spine. plank-5

To do basic plank start from standing on your hands and kneea. Then straighten your legs spreading the weight between your toes and hands. Hold your gluts and abdominal muscles tight. In the beginning stay in this position for at least 10 counts breathing normally and increase your time gradually with every work-out. To challenge basic plank, bend your elbows slightly. You can also do basic plank standing on the elbows rather than hands.

Plank is truly universal exercise. It works out your whole core including abdominal muscles, front thighs, biceps and shoulder muscles.

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To get read of the nasty “muffin” top you can do side plank. Lie on your right side, lay your right hand in front of your chest, then lift your body with your right arm, again keeping tummy and gluts tight. Do the same on the other side.

To do the complete round, start with the 10 seconds of basic plank, then 10 seconds on each side of the side plank and if you are one tough cookie you can do the second round! If not then don’t worry – everything comes with practice.

At first, plank could look like a really simple exercise, but don’t underestimate it. After my first plank experience my abdominal muscles were killing me the whole next day…so don’t be discouraged – it’s really worse all the pain and effort!